What Makes Scotland Special?
- Mountainous landscapes
- Cities packed with history and culture
- Legendary whisky distilleries
- Pristine rivers, lochs and ocean
- Seafood fresh from the harbour
- Incredible wildlife
- Breathtaking walks, drives and railways
- Vast, sandy beaches
- Some of Europe’s largest areas of wilderness
- Famous Scottish hospitality
What Can We Do in Scotland?
- Explore 11th century Edinburgh Castle
- Hunt for the Loch Ness Monster
- Climb to the summit of Ben Nevis
- Take a tour of a renowned whisky distillery
- Enjoy a plate of fresh seafood in a country inn
- Spot golden eagles in the Highlands
- Watch whales on the Moray Firth
- See a band at one of Glasgow’s famous music venues
- Experience world-renowned Edinburgh Festival
- Explore the wilds of Cairngorms National Park
- Listen to a bagpipe performance
- Book a seat on the West Highland Railway Line
- Drive the North Coast 500
- Visit the islands by ferry
- Watch the Highland Games
Where Can We Stay in Cornwall?
- Sleep in a bothy – traditional farming cottages, often in remote locations.
- Book a room at a country hotel, many of which serve as the local community’s bar.
- Pitch a tent at one of Scotland’s many loch and seaside campsites.
- Spend your holiday in a comfortable bed and breakfast.
- Book a city hotel in Glasgow, Edinburgh or Aberdeen.
- Stay in a holiday cottage in Scotland’s islands, Highlands or Lowlands.
All About Scotland
Scotland is home to an incredible variety of landscapes, from the snowy mountains and sparkling lochs of the Highlands and islands to the rolling hills and river valleys of the Borders. Much of the country is sparsely populated, with vast swathes of rugged coast and countryside, dotted with sleepy fishing villages and farming communities, while the cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow are centres for culture, with museums, galleries, live music and world-class restaurants.
Scotland’s awe-inspiring countryside scattered with legendary whisky distilleries, ruined castles and magnificent manors. Golden eagles soar over craggy mountaintops, whales and dolphins breach off the north coast, and wild forests give cover to red squirrels and deer. The Scottish people are famously welcoming and happy to advise you on where to go for the freshest seafood or finest dram of whisky.
The first region you will reach heading north from England is the Scottish Borders, a peaceful stretch of gentle hills and moors with a wealth of stately homes, manors and castles. The Berwickshire coast is one of Scotland’s most impressive, with secluded beaches and plenty of opportunities to enjoy fresh seafood. The Borders are famous as the beloved home of Sir Walter Scott, and for the Common Ridings, the world’s oldest horse-riding festival.
To the west, Dumfries and Galloway is a stunning region of the Scottish Lowlands, with lush, green forests, hills and views across the ocean, towards the islands. The area’s majestic landscapes are home to red squirrels, deer and ospreys, and have inspired artists and writers such as Robert Burns for centuries. Continuing north on the west coast, Ayrshire and Arran offer sandy shores, spectacular countryside and a slow, rural pace of life. Take a ferry ride across the glistening Firth of Clyde to the isle of Arran or Cumbrae, enjoy a plate of the finest local lamb, beef or pork, or play a round at one of the region’s world-class golf courses.
Greater Glasgow and the Clyde Valley is a green and welcoming region, with a fascinating city at its heart. Renowned whisky bars, restaurants, shopping, galleries, museums and a vibrant social life make Glasgow a brilliant city to explore. It is surrounded by serene countryside, dotted with magnificent gardens and parks, such as Strathclyde Country Park, the People’s Palace and Winter Gardens. East of Glasgow, the Lothians are dominated by glorious countryside and a rugged coastline with serene, sandy beaches such as Belhaven Bay. The city of Edinburgh is not to missed, with some of Scotland’s finest architecture and a world-famous annual festival.
Royal palaces, castles and exceptional golf courses can all be found in Fife, north of the Lothians. Fife is best known for St Andrews, a charming seaside town where the ruins of a castle perch on a dramatic headland. The coast is peppered with idyllic beaches and fishing villages, including St Monans, Elie and Crail.
As you head north along the west coast of Scotland, the landscapes become even more dramatic. Argyll and the isles of Mull, Jura and Islay are dominated by rugged countryside, where golden eagles, otters, seals, puffins and porpoises roam. Exquisitely peaty whisky is another good reason to visit the region, with many of the world’s most respected distilleries on the islands and mainland.
Enormous skies, soaring mountains and far-reaching views make the Highlands an awe-inspiring destination for a holiday in Scotland. Whether you want to climb Ben Nevis or spot whales and dolphins on the Moray Firth, travelling through the Highlands is an unforgettable experience.
Scotland has been inhabited since the Palaeolithic era, when hunter-gatherers lived on fish, wild animals, fruit, plants and shells. The oldest tools found in Scotland date back to the Neolithic period, when farmers built the country’s first permanent homes.
Around 84AD, the Romans invaded Britain, but despite building Hadrian’s Wall and the Antonine Wall to defend their borders, they never completely conquered the country, and gradually withdrew from Britain.
In roughly 800AD, the Vikings began crossing the North Sea to trade and settle in parts of Scotland. Meanwhile, the Picts forged the Kingdom of Alba, which grew into a feudal society.
The 11OOs saw relative peace in Scotland under the reign of Alexander II and III, with growth in agriculture and trade with the rest of Europe.
English monarch Edward I believed he should be overlord of Scotland, and in 1297, English troops marched north in a series of gory sieges. Unrest continued into the 14th century, when Robert the Bruce was crowned King of Scotland.
During the 15th century, intellectual life, literature, art, politics and architecture flourished in Scotland, as the Renaissance spread across Europe. Following the tumultuous rule of Mary Queen of Scots, the Act of Union in 1707 brought Scotland closer to England with the creation of a single parliament at Westminster.
During the Age of Enlightenment in the 18th century, the ideas of Scottish philosophers such as Thomas Hobbes and David Hume helped to shape the modern world. The 19th century saw massive urban and industrial development with the rise of mining, shipbuilding, manufacturing and textiles.
How Do You Get to Scotland?
Glasgow and Edinburgh are linked to London by fast, direct trains, with easy connections to towns and cities across England and Wales. Sleeper services from London provide a simple, comfortable route to Scotland.
Flights to Scotland are often the quickest option, with an ever-increasing number of routes on offer from British Airways, BMI and budget airlines such as EasyJet and Ryanair.
There are two main driving routes to Scotland from the south: via the east of England on the A1 and via the west on the M6, A74 and M74. Checking the weather is advisable before setting off, especially during the winter months, when snow is common.
Regular ferries run between the Irish ports of Belfast and Larne and Cairnryan, in southwest Scotland. During the summer months, ferries also run between Ballycastle and Campbelltown and Islay.
The Scottish airports of Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Inverness, Glasgow and Glasgow Prestwick are served by an increasing number of routes to European cities and long-haul destinations such as the U.S and Canada.